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Public Lecture Isabel Hoving

16 March 2009

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The UCL Department of Dutch invites you to a lecture by novelist and academic Isabel Hoving on “The Good, the Bad, and the Wild: Social Responsibility, Theoretical Sophistication and Writerly Obsession”, Monday 16 March 2009, 5pm, followed by a reception at 6.15pm. Venue: UCL Foster Court room 124.

The Other, the Alien, and the Wild abound in western writing. No wonder: western literature needs its supposedly pre-modern other to articulate its own identity, and explore both its differences and its affinities with that otherness. In recent decades this strategy of identification has been widely criticized, notably by postcolonial theorists who uncovered the epistemological violence in the western imagination of the wild. But to what extent has their important work lead to radical changes in the literary imagination? Less than expected, perhaps. As a fiction writer who is also working as a postcolonial theorist, this discrepancy fascinates me. Should we look for the cause in a lack of literary talent, or in an inability to transcend a eurocentric imagination? In my talk I will discuss several literary attempts to evoke the wild (including my own writing). I will also explore the tensions between the writer's objectives and obsessions, and those of the theorist.

Isabel Hoiving, who lectures on intercultural studies and postcolonial theory at the University of Leiden, is also the 2008-09 Writer in Residence in the UCL Department of Dutch. Her novel The Dream Merchant (Walker Books, 2005), translated by Hester Velmans, was first published in Dutch and won the Netherlands’ most prestigious children’s book prize in 2003. The co-editor of a five-volume series on the impact of migrants on Dutch culture, she is also the author of several books on gender and postcolonial studies, including In Praise of New Travelers: Reading Caribbean Migrant Women Writers (Stanford
University Press, 2001).

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Page last modified on 10 jun 10 08:23 by Ulrich Tiedau